How To Install A Vertical French Drain To Keep Your Basement Dry

Installing a vertical french drain in your yard can be an excellent investment for the long-term health of your property. Not only does it help manage surface water runoff and help reduce soil erosion, but it can also improve the overall drainage of your yard, helping to keep it from becoming a muddy, soggy mess. 


A vertical french drain is an underground system that can help you avoid water damage to your foundations and landscape and help manage flooding.

It can also help improve the aesthetic of your yard by creating an ideal and organized drainage system. In addition, the installation is relatively straightforward and cost-effective, making it an attractive option for homeowners.

What is a vertical french drain?

A vertical french drain is an underground drainage system designed to manage surface water runoff by collecting it into a sump pit. Although the system is classified as “vertical,” it is usually installed on a slant to avoid any potential pressure buildup that could result in water overflowing the system.


Vertical french drains can also be called “french drains” or “french outdoor drains.” They can make from various materials, including plastic, wood, and PVC. They are available in multiple styles and sizes, allowing you to customize the system based on your needs.

Why choose a vertical french drain?

The following are the primary reasons to use a vertical french drain in your drainage system.

Improved drainage

The primary objective of installing a vertical french drain is to improve runoff drainage in a one-yard section. These drains can be installed as deeply as necessary into the ground and use gravity to drain excess water into the surrounding soil.

Save the grass

Another typical reason is to safeguard your yard’s grass. Standing water caused by severe rainfall or floods can kill grass and permanently harm the soil. A french drainage system can securely drain water into the surrounding soil while causing no damage to the yard.

Avoid basement flooding

A basement flood can result in thousands of dollars in damage and mildew growth in your house. Installing an excellent outside drain, such as a vertical french drain, will help direct flood water away from your basement and make it easier for your sump pump to keep things dry.

Avoid foundation damage

Finally, installing a vertical french drain system can preserve your foundation. Shifting soil caused by above-ground flooding can harm your foundation and eventually lead to cracks or other issues. 

It can easily protect the water surface by draining it deep into the ground and away from your foundation. The danger is heightened if you reside in a region with clay soil.

How to install a vertical french drain?

Installing a vertical french drain can vary slightly based on your chosen system.

However, some general guidelines can help you get started.

For example, before you install a vertical french drain, you should conduct a site survey to determine the best location for the system.

You will also want to determine whether your site has any potential issues that could affect the system’s quality, such as heavy clay soil or high water tables. Once you have identified an appropriate location for the vertical french drain, you can begin the installation process.

  • First, mark the outline of the system on the ground and remove any existing vegetation in the area. 
  • Next, dig a trench 6-8 inches deep along the concrete wall and down to the foot of the property, making sure to leave enough room for the sump pit.
  • Next, install the French drain pipe, use grade-appropriate anchors and leave room for the sump pit and filter.

Putting a PVC pipe and water directly into the french drain could be a good idea if you have a downspout from your gutters rather than letting water flow into the yard.

Cost of installation

The exact cost of installing a vertical french drain will vary based on various factors, including the system’s location, the materials used, and the size of the system. However, the average cost of installing a vertical french drain is between $3,000 and $6,000.

Maintenance requirements

While a vertical french drain does not require any special, it is essential to be aware of some potential issues that could arise. For example, water may collect at the foot of the system, causing it to overflow or smell. 

In addition, if a filter includes in the design, you may need to periodically clean and replace it as required.

Potential problems with a vertical french drain

As with any system, there is a potential for problems. For instance, water may accumulate at the foot of the system, causing it to overflow or start to smell. 

Furthermore, if a pump is not included in the system, the water may remain at the foot of the property and cause erosion.

Alternatives to a vertical french drain

If you are still determining whether a vertical french drain is suitable for your property, there are a few other options that you can consider.

First, consider a landscaping solution that includes permeable pavers or an oasis system that allows water to absorb by the ground.

Another option is an underground drainage system (UGDS) installed directly in the ground. This system differs from a vertical french drain in that it is installed below the foot of the property, whereas a vertical french drain installs above the foot.

Last word

A vertical french drain can help improve the overall drainage of your yard, as well as help protect your home from water damage and potential flooding.

Also, a vertical french drain can help control the growth of weeds and other pests in your yard, provide a safe environment for children or pets, and help increase the lifespan of your landscaping and foundation.

Read more:

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Michael Bowen

Michael Bowen

Michael Bowen is an ambitious entrepreneur who has been in the business of building homes since he was 19. Michael's commitment to honesty, integrity, and high-quality workmanship has earned him a reputation as one of the best in the business.

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